NBADraft.net had the opportunity to speak with late bloomer and one of the Class of 2016’s rising superstars, Markelle Fultz at the McDonald’s All American Game. Fultz will be attending the University of Washington next year. He went on to finish the showcase games (Hoop Summit and Jordan Classic) with strong performances. Here’s what he had to say:
NBADraft.net: How has Chicago been?
Markelle Fultz: This has been so fun. Being at the Ronald McDonald House is really a blessing; that really touched me to know that I’m playing for more than just myself and my parents, and just out here enjoying myself playing with the best of the best.
NBADraft.net: Do you feel like you have anything to prove playing in this game?
Markelle Fultz: I think I always got something to prove. I always play like I got a chip on my shoulder. I’m just trying to prove I’m one of the best players in the country, best point guard in the country so that’s my goal.
NBADraft.net: To somebody who hasn’t seen you play before, how would you describe your game to them?
Markelle Fultz: I’m a playmaker. I can shoot the three, get to the rim, midrange, I can pass well, and a lot of people don’t know I can really jump. I’m sneaky athletic and I play on both ends of the floor.
NBADraft.net: Is there anybody you model your game after?
Markelle Fultz: There’s a couple people. Jamal Crawford, (Russell) Westbrook, KD. I try to combine all of them.
NBADraft.net: What do you want to add or improve on before you go to college?
Markelle Fultz: Just extending my three point range. I’ve been really working on my NBA three. Just getting my confidence in shooting more.
NBADraft.net: Who has been the most difficult opponent you have faced?
Markelle Fultz: I’m probably going to say (De’Aaron) Fox or Kobi (Simmons), they’re just so quick; and (Jayson) Tatum too, his crazy NBA moves in the post. Just going against all these guys is fun.
NBADraft.net: At what age did you realize basketball was something you wanted to pursue?
Markelle Fultz: Probably at the age of 13. I really feel like I could be really good at this so I just put my mind to it.
NBADraft.net: What made Washington stand out above the other schools recruiting you?
Markelle Fultz: The coaching staff there. They made me feel like I was their only child, just the way they talked to me and the way they checked over me and all that.
NBADraft.net: With Dejounte Murray entering the draft, does that add any pressure to you?
Markelle Fultz: No, it just shows that I got to do a lot more when I get there. Didn’t put any more pressure on me but I just know now for sure that I’m going to have to do a lot more.
NBADraft.net: What’s been your biggest basketball moment so far?
Markelle Fultz: Probably when I got my first offer and just knowing that my mom doesn’t have to worry about paying for college so I just think that was my biggest moment right there, when I got my first offer, just made me want to keep working hard.
NBADraft.net: What was your first offer?
Markelle Fultz: My first offer was High Point. I was at a team camp with DeMatha.
NBADraft.net: What separates you from your peers playing in this game?
Markelle Fultz: I think how long I am and my playmaking ability is different, and I play on both ends of the floor.
NBADraft.net: If you could go back and give advice to a ninth grade Markelle Fultz, what would you say?
Markelle Fultz: Work hard, believe in God, and don’t let nobody ever tell you you can’t do something. I think that’s very important. A lot of kids get mixed up when somebody says they can’t do it and just quit. I say once you start something stick with it.
NBADraft.net: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Markelle Fultz: In the NBA, hopefully being an All Star. My goal is to make it to the NBA and be the best player that ever played basketball.